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Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO

Sanantonio4

Three lesbians who were among four wrongfully convicted of molestation in 1998 were released today after spending nearly 15 years in prison, the HuffPost reports:

In 1994, Elizabeth Ramirez, then 20, was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, for allegedly molesting her two young nieces, aged 7 and 9.

In two bizarre trials, she and three other women, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez, all lesbians, were accused of repeatedly assaulting the girls during a nightmarish week-long orgy in 1994. A medical expert and the prosecutor hinted that the women had been performing a Satanic ritual, and pointed to what they claimed was scientific evidence of their guilt. A judge sent the women to prison -- 35 years for Ramirez, 15 for each of the others.

For more than a decade, the women sought the attention of advocates for prisoners and of the press, insisting that they had been falsely accused, but their calls for help went unanswered. And then, in 2006, a Canadian college instructor named Darrell Otto began researching the case. Otto became convinced that the women were innocent and reached out to the National Center for Reason and Justice, a New York-based organization that pushes for the release of those believed to be wrongly accused of crimes against children. He set in motion an effort to free the women that has finally culminated in victory.

KENS5 adds:

The women have claimed their innocence since the conviction and have worked to clear their names.  They were convicted based upon expert medical testimony that prosecutors and the women's attorney now agree wouldn't stand in court today. Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera have sat in prison for almost 15 years.

Anna Vasquez, one of "The San Antonio 4" who spent 13 years in jail and was paroled in 2012 sat down with KENS 5 for an interview.

"We were charged and convicted and I was still in doubt," said Vasquez, 37.  I could not believe that this has happened." The four were only teens when they went to jail.  

"It's a huge injustice to us we had many years taken away from us," said Vasquez.  "I was angry I would say I was in shock, disbelief," she said.

Watch a video of their release, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO" »


Federal Lawsuit Filed in Texas Challenging State's Gay Marriage Ban

Two gay couples have filed suit in Texas challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the San Antonio Express News reports:

ChasnoffA federal lawsuit was filed Monday challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, and it seeks a court order barring Texas officials from enforcing it.

“In Texas, Plaintiffs cannot legally marry their partner before family, friends, and society — a right enjoyed by citizens who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex. And should they become married in a state that has established marriage equality, Texas explicitly voids their marriage,” said the suit, filed in San Antonio by attorney Barry Chasnoff (pictured) of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. “There is no rational basis, much less a compelling government purpose, for Texas to deny plaintiffs the same right to marry enjoyed by the majority of society.”

The suit names as plaintiffs two same-sex couples, Mark Pharris and Vic Holmes and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman, but makes it clear the litigation is pursuing rights for a larger group of people in similar situations.


San Antonio Judge Leaves GOP in Blistering Video Denouncing Party's Anti-Gay Extremism: VIDEO

Key

Bexar, Texas County Criminal Court Judge Carlo Key has switched parties in a video announcing he's seeking reelection as a Democrat, Think Progress reports.

ChanKey's decision to leave the Republican party is due to the GOP's anti-LGBT hate speech and calls it a party "at war with itself."

Says Key:

I can no longer be a member of the Republican Party. For too long, the Republican Party has been at war with itself. Rational Republican beliefs have given way to ideological character assassinations. Pragmatism and principal have been overtaken by pettiness and bigotry. Make no mistake: I have not left the Republican Party. It left me. I cannot tolerate a political party that demeans Texans based on their sexual orientation, the color of their skin or their economic status. I will not be a member of a Party in which hate speech elevates candidates for higher office rather than disqualifying them. I cannot place my name on the ballot for a political party that is proud to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of federal workers over the vain attempt to repeal a law that would provide health care to millions of people throughout our country.

Key also cites San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan who called gays "disgusting" in the run-up to the city's passage of an LGBT non-discrimination bill, and blasts Republicans for shutting down the government over health care reform.

Watch Key's powerful video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "San Antonio Judge Leaves GOP in Blistering Video Denouncing Party's Anti-Gay Extremism: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan Resigns, Announces Bid For State Senate

Elisa Chan

Elisa Chan, the San Antonio Councilwoman who made headlines back in August for her recorded anti-gay comments in which she called gays 'disgusting' and unfit to be parents, submitted her letter of resignation Monday in order to seek higher office. The San Antonio Express-News reports:

Her last day as District 9 councilwoman is Oct. 18, said her campaign spokesman, Craig Murphy. State law requires that she resign from council in order to file as a state candidate, and the filing period for candidates is Nov. 9-Dec. 9.

Last month, Chan, 47, said she would challenge incumbent tea party Republican Donna Campbell to represent Senate District 25.

In a letter to Mayor Julián Castro and council members, Chan said she was proud of San Antonio and "what we have accomplished." She reflected on her five years on council, saying:

"I have done my best to represent the conservative values of these fine people. The people of this district take an active role in deciding policy, giving their input, volunteering their time and listening to the views of their neighbors," she wrote.

 Gay neighbors excluded of course. 


San Antonio, Texas Passes LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance in 8-3 Vote

S_antonio

San Antonio, Texas has passed an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance in a vote of 8-3. The ordinance covers city employment, and citywide contracting, housing and public accommodations.

The measure's passage follows months of public debate, public prayer against it, and headlines over City Councilwoman Elisa Chan's remarks on the bill, in which she called LGBT people "disgusting".

Developing...


San Antonio to Vote on LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance: WATCH LIVE

Sanantonio

San Antonio, Texas is set to vote shortly on the highly-contentious LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. As you may recall, hundreds gathered last week to pray in protest.

You can watch the public comment and vote LIVE HERE.


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